October 24, 2013

On his Sunday show on the media, Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz deftly disposed of the furor kicked up by a Salon article that fact-checked claims about Obamacare made on the Oct. 11 edition of Sean Hannity’s program. Yet Sean Hannity himself couldn’t sidestep the issue in last night’s edition. That’s because he was chatting with Austan Goolsbee, a combative former Obama economic adviser and a personality who has made for a lot of good TV on “Hannity.” After arguing over the health-insurance status of Ari Fleischer’s mom, Goolsbee and Hannity got into it over how Obamacare is being portrayed to the public.

Goolsbee seized on the Salon piece, which found none of the six people featured on that Oct. 11 “Hannity” had checked out the Obamacare exchange to price their options — so the tales of woe they spun that night don’t appear rooted in reality. Some transcript:

GOOLSBEE: Sean, you had people on the show who said they were dropping coverage because “Obamacare” was going to include . . .
HANNITY: And the president had 13 people . . .
GOOLSBEE: . . . and then they got fact-checked . . .
HANNITY: Wait a minute! And the president had 13 people . . .
GOOLSBEE: . . . and it wasn’t accurate!
HANNITY: . . . behind him that — touting “Obamacare,” and three were signed up!

Indeed, the White House provided descriptions of the people standing behind Obama earlier this week as he spoke out in favor of his health-care program. Official descriptions of those persons’ insurance status revealed a mix of Obamacare registrants, beneficiaries and prospective beneficiaries. No great surprise there. No surprise, either, that Hannity would use an attack on the White House to deflect accountability for his own program.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.